I love sharing things that have truly helped me grow my business. And if you know me, you know I don’t like B.S. workshops, online guides, how-to’s or anything else that promises “real results” and doesn’t deliver. Including presets. How much money have you blown on presets. Probs not as much as I have. GUILTY over here.
So. Freaking. Annoying. Am I right?
So let me get to the point. I made a list of what I have tried and love as well as a couple of workshops that I have thoroughly done my research on and cannot wait to go to.
I broke it into sections for y’all. 😉
MOST HELPFUL BUSINESS ARTICLES/RESOURCES:
- Small Business Accounting Tips: This is the most comprehensive article I have read on what a small business owner should do to keep their finances and accounting straight. Definitely well worth the read. Everything is said much better than I could say it. 😉
- Think Splendid Blog: Probably the best analytical blog about the wedding industry. The owner is a marketing researcher and she puts together some of the best marketing research on each niche in the wedding industry. She has great insights and opinions on how the wedding industry is faring and information that is extremely useful.
- Splendid Insights: The best marketing research that I have seen for the different niches in the wedding industry. I have used this to make decisions about how to market, what to put effort into, and gain a better insight into the minds of my couples. Very worth the money!
FAVORITE APPLICATIONS & PROGRAMS I USE EVERYDAY:
- Honeybook: I could not keep track of everything without this. Literally. It has this really awesome contact form that I embed on my website that immediately creates a project without me having to do anything. I can send contracts, invoices, scheduling all in one email rather than multiple, and I would have double booked clients multiple times if I didn’t use it. Honestly would give all other things up before this. You can get 50% off with my code! HTTP://SHARE.HONEYBOOK.COM/CASI697
- Quickbooks Self Employed: You know that gut wrenching feeling when tax time comes and you haven’t gone through and categorized any purchases, or tracked miles, or anything and now you have to start and have like six days worth of work to do? I don’t know how that feels because I have quickbooks linked to my business checking account. KA-POW! I swear there is no better feeling than just categorizing a few purchases and then sending your CPA the report. My taxes are done in a matter of a couple hours. Each month I set aside 20 minutes to go through and make sure its all categorized and I marked which trips are for business. This comes with a free app to track all your trips and it syncs to your quickbooks so that you get that deduction! The part that takes the longest is just categorizing trips and purchases. SO WORTH IT. Use my code HERE.
- Photomechanic: I know everyone is like… “I cull in Lightroom” and I’m like thats cool. I’d like 2 hours of my life back, thanks. You have to try it. I cannot stress how much time I save with this. Essentially you see the thumbnail or “smaller version” of your images and they load way way faster. No waiting for them to all load so you can cull through. It is lightning fast. No waiting for the images to load and un-pixellate which ends up wasting a couple hours with a 3000 photo wedding. None of that waiting with photomechanic. I’ll never go without this.
- Lightroom Classic: Definitely because well… couldn’t edit my photos without it. I still get questions on what I use to edit my photos, so I felt the need to put it on here. Definitely way faster than Photoshop, but I still use that to do heavy duty editing.
- Photoshop: This is definitely one that is worth knowing how to use the clonestamp tool, patch tool, and a handful of other things. You can make some really awesome composites too.
- Pic-Time: This is the online gallery delivery service that I use to send clients their photos. You can use others like Pixieset or Cloudspot, etc., I believe they all do essentially the same. I just like their setup, as well as the products you can send clients like albums and prints. You can also send clients coupons for purchasing prints, etc.
- Tailwind: This is the TRUE SECRET behind me getting people to find me on Pinterest. I will use this to auto post the pins from my website to Pinterest. It will pin specific pins that do well over and over so more people see it. I couldn’t do Pinterest or Instagram without it. This allows me to schedule all of my posts for Instagram and will auto post for me during the times of day that most people are on. It saves me so much time to batch all of my posts once a week and then just respond and engage with people.
APPS THAT I LOVE BUT AREN’T 100% NECESSARY RIGHT OFF THE BAT:
- Pic-Monkey: I like to make graphics, elements for carousel posts on instagram and any other amount of things that require some kind of graphic creation. I use it to make the call to action graphics that I pin to Pinterest that will lead back to specific pages on my website. It is $7 a month and I would say totally worth it for what it can do. If you like making graphics for your business or need to, it is the best app that I have found. You need to use it on your computer to get the full ability of the online tool. See the examples below. The first is a pinnable image and the second is an image I put on an instagram carousel.
- Flodesk: You most likely have seen a pop-up on my website asking for your email, or maybe you’ve gotten a fancy email from me. Flodesk is where I go to make these. It isn’t super cheap. Like 36 a month, but when I am building a business that requires a email list, it is necessary to make my emails look legit. I love love love this.
- Gumroad: This is where I upload all of my content for my online courses. If you take a course from me, I will have all of my content here. It is a site that will take payments, deliver content, etc. I like it because it charges a small transaction fee each time someone buys something from you. Unlike Kujabi, which you have to pay $150 a month for
- Narrative: I use this to make the photos in my blog posts lay out the way I want. I love that I can just plug the photos into the app, arrange them the way I want, and then hit publish, and it publishes directly to my blog! I just have to add words. If I ever want to change the photos, I don’t even have to go to my blog, I just pull up Narrative, change it, and then hit publish and it changes on my website! It allows me to add alt text for SEO and optimize the images so they load fast on the page. Def worth it. Especially because making blog posts would take way way longer if I didn’t use it.
- Buzzsprout: This is the hosting website I use to upload and distribute my podcast. Fairly straightforward. A bit of work in the beginning to get it connected to all of the other podcast apps like apple podcasts and spotify, but once that was done, I was in the gold!
- Dawn Charles: The presets that I use the most. I use her preset pack 2 most often and use preset 2.4 most often. I like blue in the highlights and the way that it feels more like film. Definitely isn’t for everyone, but I tweak it a lot to get it to look the way I want.
- G Presets – Signature Pack 4: I love how clean these are and use them if I’m not using DC presets. If you don’t like cool and filmy, then you wont like these. I prefer clean and timeless over warmer tones (maybe I haven’t figured out how to do warm tones), so this pack is fun.
- Julia and Gil Portrait Presets: I just bought these and am in LOVE. They add quite a bit of green so you have to really tweak it. So far it only looks good with portraits (duh, the name Casi) but I want to find a way to apply it to more images.
- India Earl + Space Wolf Grace’s Workflow / Editing Workshop : This is insanely detailed. Has sped up my editing and culling time by A LOT. I also got to see how Grace and India each edit and it was well worth the money. There are SO many things they cover that I can say that if you feel like the money is too much for what is offered, I think they didn’t charge enough.
- Catalina Jean | SEO is fun : I have gotten on page one of Google searches for quite a few keywords. Let’s just say that if you do what she says, you can have people find you on google. It isn’t easy work, but if you put the effort into it, it will pay off. I have gotten around 10 weddings as a result. So it more than pays for itself.
- Adventure Instead Academy: If you want to become an elopement photographer and want to know literally everything to get your business off the ground. This is probably the best comprehensive course I have ever seen. So so worth the money. Maddie talks about marketing, how to get ideal clients, even SEO specifically for elopement photographers. So so much. I would say this was well worth the money and priced right at what it is worth.
- Podcast Lab by Jenna Kutcher: I wish I would have taken this prior to launching my Podcast. I would have spent less time figuring it all out. She lays everything out very clearly and the videos and pdf are great. Definitely will go back for more content.
- Posing Workshop by Me: I have to plug this in just because I do think it is valuable for the price! I go over everything I do to prep before a shoot or wedding, how I get new poses, what I do when I’m stuck AND I give my list of poses and prompts that I add to all the time.
- Blog Millionaire: Probably the best supplementary podcast for SEO through blogging. Which in all honesty, blogging is your main avenue for getting rankings on SEO. He breaks it down very clearly and gives steps that you can implement right away. It has helped me so much.
- Bokeh: This is a great podcast. The best part of the podcast are the show notes. You can get some juicy stuff that is highly useful. Some fluff episodes here and there with the same info, but for the most part, he breaks things down so that they can be applied directly to your business. Worth the listen. They cover workflow, how to attract clients, how to position your brand, how to define your brand, taxes, etc.
- Wedding Salt: Yep its my podcast, and I truly feel like I have some pretty awesome people on there giving some great advice. We cover the things people might not talk about as well as dishing out all the information I can on how I grow my business.
- Crushing it by Gary Vaynerchuk: This was probably THE book that launched my business. It was what I needed to hear to kick my ass into gear. I realized in this books that whatever you think you need to do to build your business, you should do it like yesterday.
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday: I quote this one a lot. This book is based off of Stoicism, which is a philosophy for people to live by wisdom and rational thinking to bring happiness. I love stoicism because I try to control things that I cannot control and that causes me anxiety and this talks about how to have a mindset that combats trying to control things outside of our control. Ryan makes it totally easy to understand and it is so good that I re-read it all the time. It has helped me have the right mindset going into building a business.
- The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday: This is equally impressive. This book allows you to view problems not as things that stop you from what you are trying to accomplish, but rather it shows you that problems are inevitable, but there are ways to use them to get to where you want to be. It is THE book that completely changed my perspective on my business and life in general. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone.
- Mastery by Robert Greene: This is one of those books that allows you to truly know what it takes to become great at something. It is humbling and eye opening, which I think is good for all of us to read and to use to keep us going in our business.
- Hey Darling Workshop by Henry Tieu: I haven’t been to this yet, however with everything I see and hear and based on my own research, it is wort taking a look into. I will come back and give more info after I go!
- Let’s Go Workshop: This is another workshop in Oregon that I have been waiting to go to. It has all of my favorite photographers – India Earl, Catalina Jean, Space Wolf Grace, and more. The photographers who join rotate each year.
- Funk You Workshop: I haven’t been to this one, but love Chuy Photo and his stance on creating unique and soul-filling work. I can get on board with that.
- Hustle and Flow Online: Everyone RAVES about this and it is on my list. They also do in-person workshops as well. If you like a no-B.S. approach, and someone telling you the straight truth, this is for you. All about the business and marketing aspects of running your own business.
FAV GRAPHIC DESIGNERS:
- Derek Nobbes: He created my most recent logo and I’m in love. He has more of a rough, masculine letterpress feel that I think fits my new brand really well.
- Ink and Laurel: She created my first logo. She is great at feminine and hand-drawn. I definitely recommend her if that is the vibe you’re looking for.
- Squarespace is awesome if you want something that will rank for SEO and is user friendly.
- Squaremuse is what I would use to buy a template to make your Squarespace website look good.
- WordPress is supposed to be the best for SEO but is a bitch to learn how to use. I use it for my website and have finally learned how to wrangle the beast.
- Flothemes is what I use to make my website look good. You can purchase themes from them to make the website look more professional.
BLOG and IGTV POSTS:
- Camera Hacks to Add Magic to Your Images: I wrote this to share all the little things I use to make unique photos. Hopefully you love them as much as I do!
- My Favorite Books and Podcasts: This is a huge list of all the books and podcasts I use if you want to go down that rabbit hole.
- Dawn Charles Editing Tips IGTV: If you use her presets, you definitely want to watch this. Even if you don’t you should watch it!
- India Earl Editing Q+ A IGTV: Totally worth the watch. She is a genius. She goes over how she uses photoshop to edit all of her photos as well. LOVED this.
- India Earl Cropping IGTV: She talks about how she creatively uses cropping to get really unique images. This was a great perspective changer.
- My Top Marketing Strategies for 2019: Still applicable to today. They have been the best things I have done for my business.
- My Business Organization and Workflow: This is how I set up everything including how I save and organize my photo files.
- My Wedding Photography Gear: This is missing a couple of lenses I recently added, but overall has the information that is useful.
- What I take to Weddings IGTV: This is a video I made to show all of the gear I have, and what I take with me to weddings and why!
- What I would do if I had to start my business over IGTV: I talk about what I would do if I were a new photographer starting over again.
These are the resources I personally use or have made. There are more, but these have had the greatest impact.
It may be a bit overwhelming at first glance, but I only use one at a time. Over the past two years, I have been slowly adding each to my arsenal. There is no way to do this on your own. Find resources and people that help you. I have realized this more than ever.